Who would have thought, the girl that hates packing more than life itself sat here writing her third blog post about packing, how thrilling! Seriously though, this could be your saving grace, the holy grail, the blog post you have always been waiting for. Okay, I will stop, but seriously I searched high, low and under rocks for some solid base camp advice, the real and raw shit, straight from the horse’s mouth and all that jazz to which no one delivered online so here it is… A detailed list of the items you will 100% need to pack for the trek.
Baby Wipes & Toilet Paper
Ahh, your new best friend, shower buddy and saving grace as you scale the mountains. Use them wisely, pack a couple of packs and make sure you buy them at home or in Kathmandu, they can be pretty pricey on the mountain. Toilet paper also, not many places supply it in the room or shared bathrooms and trust me, using the tissues off the table when you run out is not run. Grab a couple of rolls in Kathmandu and keep one on you at all times, when nature calls, you know?
You will need this, all day err day. There is no running water at the top, it’s minus temps and you certainly won’t want to put cold water on your precious digits. Plus, if you are out in the wilderness you will need to sanitise to reduce the risk of getting ill.
First Aid Kit
I can’t stress how important this is. You never know what or when you might need this. Here is the link to everything in our kit. Blister plasters, ibuprofen & rehydration/gastro packets will be your friend.
We rented ours from a shop in Thamel. It was a minus 20 bag and damn did we need it. It was so warm and cosy, exactly the right size and temp to keep us warm, especially on those minus seventeen-degree mornings. It cost us $1.50 USD a day and we returned it the day after we returned to Kathmandu. The guy is a little legend, so if you need to rent go to the up to date trekking shop in Thamel.
If you are bringing your own bag make sure it is low enough in temperature, it’s freezing cold up there and there’s nothing like not being able to sleep because you think your toes are about to drop off.
When you get closer to base camp and for at least two or three days you will need thermal top and bottoms day and night. I didn’t take mine off for three days in fear of exposing my skin to the cold. Anything made from Merino wool is 100% the way to go. Merino will keep you cool when you are hot too, so perfect to pack for all weathers.
Socks, gloves, hat, scarf & sunglasses
These are your staple accessories. I took my Mons Royale buff, it was perfect in the wind and keeping my ears warm, as was my Merino Mons beanie. Good sunglasses are important, I am convinced that this is one of the reasons I didn’t get headaches. I went for glacial sunglasses from Izipizi, they blocked out all light from entering, very helpful for the higher up days when it was so bright and reflecting the snow.
For the gloves, get yourself some merino or polypro liners and then a pair of waterproofs on top – you will need both.
Thick warm, good socks are majorly important for your comfort and warmth, you will walk, sleep and chill in your socks so get some goodies, there is nothing worse than cold feet.
Down Jacket & waterproof pants
Oh lord, my down jacket actually saved my life. I think I would have frozen at the top without it. It also doubled as a battery warmer in my sleeping bag at night, I shoved them in the pockets and slept with it by my side. I chose to wear leggings every day to hike in, one pair was thermal lined from Lululemon, perfect for the colder days. I then bought some genuine fake North Face pants for $25 from a trekking shop in Thamel – again lifesavers from the wind, bitter morning cold and the snow.
Do yourself a favour and make sure that these boots are worn in. You will be living in them for the next ten days. You will be walking for at least 6 hours a day, your boots need to be supportive and comfortable. Don’t forget to pack some spare laces, just in case. Here’s a link to the only boots I will ever wear.
A good backpack
Again, you will be walking for hours on end every day so a comfortable hiking backpack is a must. You will be carrying everything that the Porters don’t and you need to be prepared for all weathers. I opted for a 50L backpack for my camera gear but a 28L-30L backpack should be perfect.
Be sure to pack two 1L bottles so you can fill up and Aquatab your water or pour water from bottles in. You should always have access to 2L of clean water as you hike.
Finally, a good level of fitness and a very strong determined mind is important to bring along. Make sure you train your body before embarking on this trip, walking up stairs and hills is a great way to star. You need to be mentally in this to make it to the top, if this is just a let’s get to base camp trip for you then I would reassess your intentions. This hike is as hard mentally as it is physically, so a strong mental attitude is essential. There may be periods of time where you are walking alone or the air is to thin to chat, if that’s the case, let your mind wander positively in your surroundings.
Most of all, have fun, enjoy the trek and the company. Immerse yourself fully in The Himalayas and create some epic memories.
Check out my packing list here, all products are linked.